I have nothing practical to write today, because everything I am thinking and feeling, every breath and impulse, is electrified with overwhelming emotion; aching and huge in all it's maddening bigness. Life is looming large for me at the moment. It feels abstract and blurry.
My finger tips are tingling and my head is slightly aching and my shoulder blades feel a little too tight right through the middle. I marvel that my skin feels so soft and has a luminosity to it that I barely recognize.
Beneath the surface, where the heart beats rhythmic and true, I feel a profound sadness that mingles with inexplicable joy. It makes no sense. I can not explain it, I can barely describe it, I can only experience it. It accompanies me through my everyday challenges, bringing with it a gentle strength that sustains me.
I am with you always.
I will never leave or forsake you.
Be still and know that I am God.
I feel safe.
I have long wished only, ever, always- to be in the very center of the will of God. I have sent up my many pleas for wisdom, guidance, clarity and assurance. I have received from God, instead, mystery, longing, confusion and doubt. These gifts came wrapped in coarse paper, without flair or adornment to attract.
But they have been lovely, just the same.
They were what I never knew I'd always wanted. God knows indeed how to give good gifts to His children.
Irony is not lost on me. I can see now that it is silly to question whether you are in the will of God when the God who holds the very universe in place is the one who brings about every detail that affects my life, whether directly or indirectly. I can not fall out of His will by any stupid decision I have made or will make in the future; the God who keeps me will never, ever let me go. He is the Author and the Finisher of my faith. He has already written out my entire story. He sees the end from the beginning.
And He is making my life one heck of a page turner.
I look back on things that I have done, especially the ugly things, with awe and wonder. What others may have done to harm me, maybe even the things I did to harm myself, God meant for good. He uses it all.
There is nothing in me that wants to tempt God by cheapening the grace by which I stand. My greatest hope is that He would never allow me to fall again, that I would be enabled to be a faithful and obedient servant until I take my last breath, and through out eternity, and I will pray to that end. As much as is in me, that is the path I will walk, with love and joy.
But this is His book, and my life is simply a subplot.
He is writing into my character deeper compassion, wider love, truer humility, a gentler disposition. He has not allowed one single thing to happen to me, and will not allow any difficult, painful thing to continue even one moment longer than is absolutely necessary, unless it is needful in order to bring about my ultimate sanctification, and His ultimate glorification. He never wastes my pain.
The one who is forgiven much, loves much. The rogue sheep that was lost, after the Shepherd finds and rescues and restores... that precious lamb is never the same. The prodigal understands the Father's love in a unique, deep, incomparable and unshakable way. Maybe only after having tasted counterfeits are we able to truly savor the real thing.
I have tasted and seen that the Lord, He is good.
He really does bring beauty from ashes. And it's not just because He wants to salvage what He can from what you've messed up, like some sort of Cosmic plan B.
It is in His very character, His very nature, to do the most miraculous things through the most impossible. He delights in using the least, the weakest, the most broken, the biggest screw ups and failures. Why? Because then people can see it and they have to say, woah. No way. Only God.
That's the kind of story God is writing through my life. One of those intense stories with lots of crazy turns, where you're freaking out all the way through it, smacking your forehead with your palm and yelling at the characters to stop being so stupid, maybe even tossing the book against the wall a time or two and hyperventilating a little. But then you get to the end and say, woah. No way. Only God.
So you sit there, dumbfounded and amazed, and you turn back to the beginning and have to read it all over again, this time knowing how it will all turn out and understanding that all the things that happened along the way had to happen in order to get to the desired end.
I don't know yet what kinds of things He is writing into my story, but I know that this is going to be a best seller in Heaven.
And I'm trusting, a little more each day, that He knows what I need to become what He's made me to be, and He knows how to bring it about, and that the greatest thing I can ever do is simply fall back into His arms and enjoy Him.
Right here, in the very center of His will.